Do Permit Drivers Need Insurance? – EINSURANCE


Key Takeaways:

  • All states require young people to acquire a learner’s permit when learning to drive. Depending on your state’s requirements, a permit can be obtained anywhere from 14 years of age to 16 years.
  • Insuring a learner’s permit driver is relatively inexpensive and pays big dividends in demonstrating expectations and parenting by example.
  • We offer some practical tips in educating a strong and competent life-long driver.

When a teenager first gets their learner’s permit, it’s an exciting milestone on the road to becoming a fully licensed driver. However, one crucial question that often arises is: Do permit drivers need insurance?

It’s important to explore the intricacies of auto insurance for learner’s permit holders, so we are providing you with valuable insights and practical advice. We’ll also delve into the necessity, costs, and benefits of having insurance for these new drivers, ensuring you’re well-informed—especially if you have a new driver about to get their learner’s permit.

Understanding the Basics

What is a Learner’s Permit?

A learner’s permit, also known as a provisional permit, is a restricted license given to individuals who are learning to drive but have not yet met the requirements for a full driver’s license. Typically, learners’ permit holders must drive under the supervision of a licensed adult, and they are often subject to specific rules and limitations, such as driving only during daylight hours or avoiding highways.

The purpose of a learner’s permit is to provide novice drivers with a safe environment to practice their driving skills. However, even with these restrictions, accidents can and do happen. This brings us to the critical question of whether insurance is necessary for permit drivers. Given that new drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents, understanding the insurance requirements and options is essential for both the permit holder and their parents or guardians.

All states require a learner’s permit, but ages and length of time before you can receive a standard license varies by state. At einsurance.com, you can find insurance information guides by state which outline the specifics in detail. Here is a chart that looks at ages by state, but as a guide should be verified by your local Department of Motor Vehicles or Driver’s License Bureau.

Permit Requirements by Age and State***

State Learner’s Permit Restricted License Full License
Alabama 15 16 17
Alaska 14 16 16, 6 mos.
Arizona 15, 6 mos. 16 16, 6 mos.
Arkansas 14 16 18
California 15, 6 mos. 16 17
Colorado 15 16 17
Connecticut 16 16, 4 mos. 18
Delaware 16 16, 6 mos. 17
District of Columbia 16 16, 6 mos. 18
Florida 15 16 18
Georgia 15 16 18
Hawaii 15, 6 mos. 16 17
Idaho 14, 6 mos. 15 16
Illinois 15 16 18
Indiana 15 16, 3 mos. 18
Iowa 14 16 17
Kansas 14 16 16, 6 mos.
Kentucky 16 16, 6 mos. 17
Louisiana 15 16 17
Maine 15 16 16, 9 mos.
Maryland 15, 9 mos. 16, 6 mos. 18
Massachusetts 16 16, 6 mos. 18
Michigan 14, 9 mos. 16 17
Minnesota 15 16 17
Mississippi 15 16 18
Missouri 15 16 18
Montana 14, 6 mos. 15 16
Nebraska 15 16 17
Nevada 15, 6 mos. 16 18
New Hampshire 15, 6 mos. 16 17, 1 mos.
New Jersey 16 17 18
New Mexico 15 15, 6 mos. 16, 6 mos.
New York 16 16, 6 mos. 18
North Carolina 15 16 16, 6 mos.
North Dakota 14 15 16
Ohio 15, 6 mos. 16 18
Oklahoma 15, 6 mos. 16 17
Oregon 15 16 17
Pennsylvania 16 16, 6 mos. 18
Rhode Island 16 16, 6 mos. 17, 6 mos.
South Carolina 15 15, 6 mos. 16, 6 mos.
South Dakota 14 14, 6 mos. 16
Tennessee 15 16 17
Texas 15 16 18
Utah 15 16 17
Vermont 15 16 16, 6 mos.
Virginia 15, 6 mos. 16 18
Washington 15 16 17
West Virginia 15 16 17
Wisconsin 15, 6 mos. 16 16, 9 mos.
Wyoming 15 16 16, 6 mos.
***Source VeryWell Family

Legal Requirements for Insurance While Driving with a Learner’s Permit

In most states, it is legally required to have car insurance for any driver operating a vehicle, including those with a learner’s permit. The specifics can vary by state, but generally, the permit holder must be covered by an auto insurance policy. This means that if a teenager or any new driver with a learner’s permit is behind the wheel, they need to be included on an insurance policy, either their own or that of their supervising adult.

Insurance companies typically offer several options for covering learner’s permit drivers. The most common approach is to add the permit holder to an existing policy, usually that of a parent or guardian. This can be done at little or no additional cost initially, but it is important to inform the insurance provider once the learner obtains their permit. Failure to do so could result in coverage issues if an accident occurs.

Another option is to purchase a separate policy specifically for the learner. While this is less common and can be more expensive, it may be a suitable option in certain circumstances, such as if the learner regularly drives multiple vehicles owned by different people.

Cost Considerations When Adding a Learner’s Permit Driver

Adding a learner’s permit driver to an existing car insurance policy generally doesn’t result in a significant increase in premiums. Most insurance companies understand that permit drivers are supervised and have limited driving privileges, which reduces the risk they pose.

However, once the learner progresses to a full driver’s license, insurance costs can increase substantially.

Parents often worry about how much the cost will be to add a learner’s permit driver to their insurance policy. On average, adding a learner to an existing policy can raise the premium by a small amount, usually between $50 and $200 annually, depending on the insurer and the state.

Additionally, several factors can influence the cost of adding a permit driver, including the age of the driver, the type of vehicle being insured, and the driving record of the supervising adult. Discounts may be available for good students, for completing a driving education course, or for having a safe driving record. It’s worthwhile to explore all possible discounts to minimize the impact on your insurance premiums.

As with all insurance products, it’s important to shop around and compare quotes from different insurance providers to find the best rates and coverage options. An online quote from multiple reputable companies is easy to obtain and gives you a good idea of where to start or you can talk with a dedicated insurance agent who is knowledgeable about learner’s permit drivers.

Coverage Details—What Does Learner’s Permit Insurance Include?

When adding a learner’s permit driver to your car insurance policy, the coverage they receive is typically the same as that of any other driver on the policy. This includes liability coverage, which is required by law in most states and covers damage to other people and property in the event of an accident caused by the permit holder.

In addition to liability coverage, it’s advisable to have comprehensive and collision coverage (and is required if you owe money on your vehicle or have a lease). Each has a specific purpose:

  • Liability coverage is essential for protecting drivers from the financial burden of causing an accident. It covers the costs of the other party’s medical expenses and property damage resulting from the accident. Liability insurance typically includes bodily injury liability and property damage liability, ensuring that the policyholder is not personally responsible for these costs.
  • Comprehensive coverage offers protection against non-collision-related incidents that can damage your vehicle. This includes events such as theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and fire. Comprehensive coverage helps pay for repairs or replacement of your car if it’s damaged by these covered events, providing peace of mind beyond just accident-related incidents.
  • Collision coverage is designed to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle if it’s damaged in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. This type of coverage is particularly valuable for drivers who want to ensure their car can be fixed or replaced after a collision with another vehicle or object, such as a tree or guardrail.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is another important consideration. This type of coverage protects the permit driver if they are involved in an accident with a driver who has insufficient or no insurance. Given the unpredictability of other drivers on the road, this coverage can be a crucial safety net.

The Importance of Auto Insurance for Permit Drivers

Auto insurance is not just a legal requirement; it’s a vital component of responsible driving. For permit drivers, having the right insurance coverage provides several key benefits:

  • Financial Protection – In the event of an accident, insurance can cover the costs of repairs, medical bills, and legal fees, preventing significant financial hardship.
  • Peace of Mind – Knowing that the learner is covered allows both the permit driver and their supervising adult to focus on practicing driving skills without the constant worry of potential financial consequences from an accident.
  • Legal Compliance – Ensuring that the permit driver is properly insured keeps you in compliance with state laws, avoiding potential fines and legal issues.
  • Building Good Habits – Starting with proper insurance sets a precedent for the learner, emphasizing the importance of maintaining adequate coverage throughout their driving life.
  • Protection for All – Auto insurance doesn’t just protect the driver; it also protects others on the road and pedestrians, ensuring that everyone is covered in the event of an accident.

Practical Tips for Parents and Guardians

For parents and guardians, managing a learner’s permit driver involves several practical considerations beyond just obtaining the necessary insurance. Here are some tips to help navigate this period effectively:

  • Communicate with Your Insurance Provider or Agent – Inform your insurance company as soon as the learner obtains their permit. They can provide guidance on the best coverage options and ensure that the permit driver is properly added to the policy.
  • Consider a Driving Contract – Establish a driving contract with the learner that outlines rules and expectations for driving. This can include limits on when and where they can drive, agreements that no drinking or texting will take place while they are behind the wheel, as well as requirements for maintaining good grades or completing a driver’s education course.
  • Supervise Practice Sessions – Spend ample time supervising practice driving sessions to help the learner build confidence and skills. Make sure to practice in various conditions, such as different weather and traffic situations.
  • Be Patient – Remember, the first time merging onto a highway or making a left hand turn in rush hour traffic can be overwhelming. As a good teacher, it’s important to maintain your composure and be supportive throughout the learning process.
  • Teach Defensive Driving – Emphasize the importance of defensive driving techniques, such as maintaining a safe following distance, being aware of other drivers, and avoiding distractions.
  • Monitor Progress: Regularly review the learner’s progress and provide constructive feedback. And remember to celebrate milestones and improvements to encourage your new driver to continue learning.

In the End – Insuring a New Permit Driver is a Necessity!

Having insurance for learner’s permit drivers is not just a legal requirement but a critical aspect of responsible driving. It provides financial protection, peace of mind, and ensures compliance with state laws. Parents and guardians play a vital role in guiding permit drivers through this period, from obtaining the right insurance coverage to supervising driving practice.

By understanding the requirements and options for learner’s permit insurance, and by taking proactive steps to support and educate new drivers, you can help set the foundation for a safe and confident driving future. Remember, the journey from a learner’s permit to a full driver’s license is a significant step, and having the right insurance coverage is an essential part of that journey.

Contact einsurance.com for more information about car insurance quotes today.

About Kathryn Morstad

Kathryn has a background as a small business owner and currency trader. Kathryn also enjoyed a career as a Regional Director and COO in healthcare, specializing in operations, third-party insurance reimbursement, and revenue cycle management.



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